By Jack Stubbs
Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood has been a hotspot for development activity over the last several months, and another development site—slated for the construction of a nine-story office building—recently changed hands.
On August 16th, Seattle-based Unico Properties brought in a new equity partner on a two-building parcel, located at 327 Eastlake Ave. E and 330 Yale Ave. N., for $28.3 million, King County records show. Both the buyer and the seller—UPG YH Property Owners LLC and UPI Harrison St LLC—are affiliated with Unico Properties, however according to a release from Unico Properties, the Swiss-based Partners Group is the new equity partner with Unico on this development.
The subject property in the transaction, located in the Cascade neighborhood of South Lake Union, includes two buildings sitting on just over half an acre: the first building totals 1,232 square feet and was built in 1949, and the second building—formerly the headquarters of PEMCO Insurance—is a two-story property that totals 18,744 square feet.
According to a project proposal submitted to the city of Seattle by Unico Properties, for which the permits were issued in July 2019, the site at 300 Yale Ave. N. is slated for the development of a nine-story, 200,000 square foot Class A office building that will include 32 below-grade parking stalls. The land for the project, called Yale & Harrison, was acquired as part of a full-block assembly three years ago, and currently includes a parking garage and office building which Unico recently repositioned and leased in its entirety, according to the company’s web site.
According to the proposal for the Perkins+Will-designed Yale & Harrison project, the development team will look to successfully integrate the planned building into its surrounding neighborhood context, including a consideration of the St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral, which is a city-designated landmark. The development also sits in close proximity to prominent transit corridors like I-5 and Eastlake Ave. E., as well as Block 11, a new multifamily housing development located along Yale Ave. N.
Founded in 1953, Unico Properties currently invests in and manages a national portfolio—including office, mixed-use and multifamily properties—valued at over $3 billion, according to the company’s web site. Unico owns and manages nearly 17 million square feet of office, multi-family and mixed-use property across the western U.S., with more than a million square feet under development.
In early 2019, the company made a large-scale disposition that included various properties in Seattle and Denver: Unico sold two properties in Pioneer Square—the iconic Smith Tower and the adjacent Florence Building—to an affiliate of Goldman Sachs for a combined $138 million in what was part of a larger 27-building, 1.8 million square foot portfolio worth a combined $710 million.
In May 2019, Unico Properties spent $37 million, or approximately $249 per square foot, to acquire the six-story, 148,000 square foot Colman Building in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood from Goodman Real Estate.